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Dadang Christanto

Dadang Christanto

More than ten years since they were created, Dadang’s larger-than-life figures maintain their power and relevance. The 16 male and female figures were created by Dadang in Yogyakarta at the time he still lived in Indonesia (he has since moved to Australia), as a tribute to the millions of innocent people killed in times of war and political instability. While the message is universal, the specific incidents that moved Dadang were the anti-communist purges of 1965-66 when hundreds of thousands of innocent people were massacred as the Indonesian army and civilian militia groups sought to rid the country of all who might be Communist sympathisers. Dadang witnessed these tragedies and is determined they are remembered in time-resistant memorials that will still stand long after the haunted memories of witnesses have faded.

Dadang focuses not on the heroes, but the innocent victims. His men and women, touchingly vulnerable in their nakedness, carry in their outstretched arms the brittle shells of clothing once worn by women and children so inhumanely killed. The figures mutely protest the horrors inflicted on innocent people and plea for justice. The message resonates profoundly in its universal validity, evoking grief and compassion in viewers, and standing as a compelling plea to respect the rights of all innocent people.

Born in Indonesia and based in Australia since 1999, Christanto has a significant reputation internationally. His artistic oeuvre includes painting, drawing, performance, sculpture and installations. While much of his work still alludes to his Indonesian heritage, he has become increasingly involved in protesting the injustices inflicted on the voiceless many throughout the world, as well as advocating the protection of the environment, for nature too is voiceless against the destruction being inflicted on it.

On view:27 May � 25 June 2010
Art Gallery of New South Wales
Art Gallery Road, The Domain, Sydney
Telephone:(02) 9225 1744 or
recorded information (02) 9225 1790
National toll free 1800 679 278
Hours:10am to 5pm, 7 days a week
Art After Hours Wednesday nights until 9pm
Media Information and Interviews:Claire Martin
(02) 9225 1734 or 0414 437 588

IMAGE CREDIT: Dadang Christanto (born 1957 Tegal, Central Java) They give evidence (Mereka Memeri Kesaksian) 1996-1997. 16 standing figures holding clothes; terracotta powder mixed with resin/fibreglass, cloth and resin; ht 200 cm (male). Purchased 2003